News

B.C. author challenges Canadians to sign up for TRC reading challenge

Posted on

Jennifer Manuel wants 1,000 people to pledge by National Aboriginal Day

Truth and Reconciliation 20130918

Jennifer Manuel, from Duncan, B.C., launched an online campaign to get people to read the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) summary report (Darryl Dyck/CP)

4.6k  shares

A B.C. author wants 1,000 people to take up the challenge to read the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) summary report.

Jennifer Manuel, from Duncan, B.C., launched an online campaign, the TRC Reading Challenge, and aims to reach her goal by National Aboriginal Day on June 21.

“It’s one thing to say you’re listening and it’s another to actually try and show that you’re listening,” said Manuel, who has worked as a treaty archivist and school teacher.

Manuel said within a couple days of the challenge’s launch on April 5, she had more than a 100 people sign on and it picked up more steam over the weekend.

“Every time that somebody pledges I get an email alert and I’ve had to turn that off,” she said.

Manuel says she’ll be publishing the names of the people who make the pledge and they will be able to self-report their reading progress as a way to show they’re taking part.

Read More…

The Road of Resistance

Posted on Updated on

A fresh, humid breeze was blowing. It was the dawn of the 1st of January of 1994 and fog still covered the mountains of southeast Chiapas, in Mexico. Juan Vázquez Guzmán was only 13 when he saw how thousands of men and women, hooded and armed, emerged from the mist of the Lacandon Jungle. “We declare war our bad government”, they said. No one expected it, although Juan had seen them prepare since he was a baby.

“We are the product of 500 years of battles. We, the deprived, are millions and today we say, enough!”. That is how the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN) was born. This guerrilla force from the Mexican state of Chiapas rebelled to reclaim work, land, shelter, food, health, education, independence, freedom, democracy, justice and peace.

As most Tzeltal indigenous young men, Juan Vázquez worked with his father in the cornfields and coffee plantations located at the common lands –  in San Sebastián Bachajón, Chiapas. They had strong hands and empty stomachs. They ate whatever the soil and their sweat gave them. “We depend on our land; an ancient legacy from our ancestors and a legacy for the future generations”, ponders Juan. Since he was an adolescent he has walked on the side of the Zapatistas. He is committed to the fight for their rights as Mexicans and as indigenous people, in a region where institutions have been absent and the citizens forgotten. Read More…

 

2 Native Women Elected to National Academy of Education

Posted on

henrietta-mann
Henrietta Mann, Tsetsehestaestse (Cheyenne), is one of 11 elected to the National

2 Native Women Elected to National Academy of Education

3/10/16

Dr. Henrietta Mann, Tsetsehestaestse (Cheyenne), and K. Tsianina Lomawaima (Mvskoke/Creek Nation) were recently elected to the National Academy of Education.

Mann is the now retired founding president of Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribal College, and Lomawaima is a professor of justice and social inquiry, and distinguished scholar of indigenous education at the Center for Indian Education at Arizona State University.

They were among 11 elected for membership by Dr. Michael Feuer, Dean of the Graduate School of Education and Human Development at George Washington University and President of the National Academy of Education (NAEd).

NAEd celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2015, and has 199 U.S. members and 11 foreign associates who are elected based on outstanding scholarship related to education.

“I was astonished to be elected to this body of esteemed educators, just as committed to education as any one of them, yet, in my own unique cultural-based way. As my daughter once described me, education has always represented the true north on my compass,” Mann told ICTMN. “I came from a people who valued education, which was nurtured in me, and became my joy as a teacher and later as a university professor. It was an educational journey from the home of a great-grandmother, who was a healer of horses for peoples who pursued bison across the northern and southern plains to a journey throughout the halls of learning in such places as the University of California, Berkeley; Graduate School of Education, Harvard University; University of Montana; Montana State University; and the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribal College located on the campus of Southwestern Oklahoma State University. What a fulfilling educational experience and contribution. Now, membership in the National Academy of Education—my heart sings.”

Mann was the first person to occupy the Katz Endowed Chair in Native American Studies at Montana State University, Bozeman, where she is Professor Emerita, but continues to serve as Special Assistant to the President.

In 1991, Mann was named by Rolling Stone as one of the 10 leading professors in the nation, and in 2008, she received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Indian Education Association.

The College Board, Native American Student Advocacy Institute presented Mann with its first Lifetime Achievement Award in 2013, and has since created the Dr. Henrietta Mann Leadership Award to acknowledge and thank leaders for their advocacy in improving lives within Native communities. In 2014, MONEY Magazine named her a MONEY Hero Award Winner, one of 50 Unsung Heroes/50 States, conferred for her extraordinary work with the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribal College in improving the financial well-being of others.

Lomawaima joined Arizona State University in January 2014. From 1994-2014 she served on the faculty of American Indian Studies at the University of Arizona, serving as head from 2005-2009. From 1988–1994, she was a member of the Anthropology & American Indian Studies faculty at the University of Washington.

K. Tsianina Lomawaima is one of 11 elected to the National Academy of Education.
K. Tsianina Lomawaima is one of 11 elected to the National Academy of Education.

Lomawaima has received numerous teaching honors, including the University of Washington’s Distinguished Teaching Award. She also served as 2012-2013 President of the Native American and Indigenous Studies Association/NAISA, which she helped found in 2007. She was also awarded the Western History Association Lifetime Achievement Award for American Indian History in 2010.

“It’s a tremendous honor… As someone who works in indigenous studies and as a historian it took me by surprise,” Lomawaima told ICTMN. “I’m amazed that it happened, and just deeply honored.”

The full list of those elected to the NAEd is below:

Ron Astor, University of Southern California

Joan L. Herman, National Center for Research

Glynda A. Hull, University of California, Berkeley

Deanna Kuhn, Teachers College, Columbia University

K. Tsianina Lomawaima, Arizona State University

Henrietta Mann, Cheyenne Arapaho Tribal College

Russell Rumberger, University of California, Santa Barbara

Anna Sfard, University of Haifa

Carola Suárez-Orozco, University of California, Los Angeles

William F. Tate IV, Washington University in St. Louis

“It is my pleasure to welcome these leaders who represent the rich diversity of fields that study education,” Feuer said.

 

Read more at http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2016/03/10/2-native-women-elected-national-academy-education-163697

6 Things You Can Do to Put Your Anger into Action for #BertaCaceres

Posted on

by Cultural Survival on March 10, 2016
The international community has been reeling after the gunning down of Indigenous Lenca activist Berta Caceres of Honduras, well known and loved around the world for her dedication and commitment to her community, their lands, and protecting the environment.  Last week on March 3th, Berta was assassinated in her home by a death squad, after years of documented threats and harassment by Honduran military and private security of the hydroelectric dam company DESA.  Here are six concrete actions you can take to fight back for Berta and multiply the work she was dedicated to.
1) Ask the FMO bank to withdraw investment from the Agua Zarca project.
Berta stood up to corporations and helped delay the construction of the Agua Zarca dam which, if built, would destroy her community’s land and the Gualcarque River in Honduras. The dam was delayed due to protests for so long that investors started pulling from the project. As a result, Berta became a target for corporate spying, intimidation, and ultimately murder, simply because money wasn’t being made.   This is why we are calling on the largest remaining investor of the dam, FMO (a Dutch Development bank) to join the Chinese investors Sinohydro and the International Finance Corporation in withdrawing financial support for this project immediately.
2) Call on Authorities to Protect Gustavo Castro Soto, murder witness and assassination target.
Gustavo Castro Soto, a Mexican human rights defender, environmental activist and long-time ally of Berta and COPINH, was also shot during the attack.  Gustavo is the sole witness of the murder, and is currently being held against his will by Honduran authorities. In a note to some friends on March 6, Gustavo wrote, “The death squads know that they did not kill me, and I am certain that they want to accomplish their task.” Take action to ensure his safety by calling on Honduran, Mexican and embassy authorities demanding security for Gustavo, and to halt the criminalization against COPINH.
3) Call on the U.S. Department of State to take concrete steps
Berta was a vocal opponent of US backed 2009 presidential coup in Honduras. COPINH denounced the coup d’état as an instrument of violence serving transnational corporations to exploit resources and to repress the dissent of social movements. She also opposed continuing US military bases on Lenca territory.  The United States played has played a major role in legitimizing the 2009 coup and funding the right wing military government that has formed since.  In 2011 Washington authorized $1.3 billion for U.S. military electronics in Honduras,  and U.S. military expenditures for Honduras have gone up every year since 2009. Yet in the years since the coup, human rights violations in Honduras have increased at an alarming rate: roughly 150 environmental and human rights defenders have been killed.  Berta was a strong opponent of US military presence in Honduras. The Department of State and the US ambassador to Honduras have issued statements of condolences to Berta Caceres family and condemning her death, but stop short of describing concrete steps being taken to address the underlying issues prompting her assassination.
Write to the US state department demanding the following:
Pressure Honduran authorities to ensure the security and prompt release of Gustavo Castro.
Support COPINH’s demands that the Honduran state sign an agreement with the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) to send independent experts to conduct a clean, impartial, and transparent investigation.
Ensure that no US aid goes to military units repressing the Lenca people of Rio Blanco and encourage the Honduran government to withdraw the military from the zone.

4) Ask Congress to Suspend Funding for the Alliance for Prosperity
Berta was a vocal opponent against the Alliance for Prosperity, a plan for US funding to Central America was recently approved by US congress to  provide $750 million in military financing and training million to Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador, as well as to facilitate investment in extractive industries, including a massive gas pipeline from Mexico to Central America. But preconditions for percent of the total funds mean that countries will have to prove they are working to reduce migration and human trafficking, combat government corruption, and decrease poverty—just some items among a considerable list. The U.S. State Department and Agency for International Development, which are jointly in charge of administrating the money, will have to report to Congress by September 30 2016 on whether sufficient progress has been made, and if not, funding can be suspended.

5) Keep the pressure on through social media.
Tweet US and Honduran officials:
@USAmbHonduras
@StateDept
@JohnKerry
@BarackObama
@MP_Honduras
@JuanOrlandoH

6)  Spread the word
Share this list with family, friends, and networks, as well as the following statements from Berta’s family and colleagues:
Statement from the daughters, son, and mother of Berta Cáceres
Urgent denunciation by COPINH

Cultural Survival
2067 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA 02140

‘Emotional competency’ can help struggling students, educator says

Posted on Updated on

Lee Brown says handling emotions is a skill kids need to learn just like any other subject in school

By A New Day, CBC News Posted: Mar 01, 2016 6:21 PM CT

A retired academic says teaching “emotional competency” in schools can help students with everything from overcoming childhood trauma to getting better grades.

Lee Brown is a retired academic from the University of British Columbia, co-author of The Sacred Tree and former director of the Institute for Aboriginal Health at UBC.

Lee Brown

Lee Brown says kids need to learn emotional skills from an early age. (Council of Yukon First Nations)

He’s one of the speakers at the Yukon First Nation Education Summit in Whitehorse. The focus this year is on cultural inclusion in public schools, supporting First Nation students in Whitehorse schools and building the relationship between the Yukon Department of Education and First Nations.

Brown says handling emotions is a skill kids need to learn, just like any other subject in school.

“Albert Einstein was a mathematical genius, but if he’d never studied math, he would never have been able to count to ten,” Brown said. “So, emotional competency is what develops when you put your mind in a curriculum from Grade 1 to 12 to develop the emotional skills of the children.”

Brown says teaching emotional competency involves helping students to understand their emotional states and how to communicate them. He says that helps students create strong identities for themselves.

Emotional skills can also help students tackle subjects they struggle with, Brown says, giving the example of math, which causes many students anxiety. He says it’s possible for students to train themselves to love math.

“The more emotional tools you have in your emotional toolbox, the better off you’re going to be.”

Brown says bullying, racism and suicide are results of failing to teach children about their emotions.

“There’s not a high level of emotional maturity in our society,” he said. “There is a high level of emotional toxicity.”

Victorian Government to begin talks with First Nations on Australia’s first Indigenous treaty

Posted on

Victorian Government to begin talks with First Nations on Australia’s first Indigenous treaty

Updated Fri at 3:56am

The Victorian Government will begin talks to work out Australia’s first treaty with Indigenous people within weeks.

Aim of Victoria’s First Nations Treaty:

  • Recognition of past injustices
  • Recognition of all 39 First Nations and their Clans Authority
  • Recognition of and respect for country, traditions and customs
  • A futures fund to implement and establish the treaty
  • Establishment of a democratic treaty commission
  • Land Rights and Land Acquisition Legislation and Funding
  • Fresh Water and Sea Water Rights

(From the Victorian Traditional Land Owner Justice Group)

A meeting with First Nations representatives, convened by the State Government earlier this month, firmly rejected Constitutional recognition in favour of self-determination and a treaty.

The treaty would be a legal document over Aboriginal affairs and services and addressing past injustices.

It would be the first such agreement in Australia and follow similar arrangements with First Peoples in Canada, the US and New Zealand.

Victoria’s Aboriginal Affairs Minister Natalie Hutchins told Lateline the Government was committed to making it happen.

“At the end of the day it’s pretty disappointing that we, in the year 2016, don’t have a treaty or a national arrangement with our First Peoples,” she said.

Ms Hutchins said Victoria will look at treaty examples in other Commonwealth countries.

“In fact, Canada have been doing it for a long time, New Zealand has successfully done it, so it’s time for Australia to step up,” she said.

Constitutional recognition ‘a distraction’

Dja Dja Warrung elder Gary Murray said the state must pursue the best outcome.

“It’s not difficult to scope a treaty given what’s happened in Canada and New Zealand and other places,” he said.

“I think we pick the best from that and bring it into the modern world.”

Mr Murray said the national debate around Constitutional recognition was just “a distraction”. Read More…

ABC News. “Victorian Government to begin talks with First Nations on Australia’s first Indigenous treaty.” Retrieved from: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-02-26/victoria-to-begin-talks-for-first-indigenous-treaty/7202492?site=indigenous&topic=latest on March 1, 2016

Mexican Indigenous Ask Pope to Apologize for Mass Genocide

Posted on Updated on

Mexican Indigenous Ask Pope to Apologize for Mass Genocide


The Supreme Indigenous Council of Michoacan, Mexico, accused the Catholic Church of being complicit in the killing of over 24 million Indigenous people.

Some 30 Indigenous communities of Michoacan, Mexico, have released a statement demanding Pope Francis apologize for the genocide committed with the complicity of the Catholic Church against their people during the Spanish invasion of the Americas in the 16th century.

"For over 500 years, the original people of the Americas have been ransacked, robbed, murdered, exploited, discriminated and persecuted,” the Supreme Indigenous Council of Michoacan said in a statement.

    In 2015, Pope Francis "issued a sweeping apology for crimes of the Church against the indigenous during the conquest of the Americas." — ¡Gabe! Ortíz (@TUSK81) February 6, 2016

    #Vatican spokesman says Pope Francis means to give blessing to use of indigenous languages at Catholic masses in Mexico — Joshua McElwee (@joshjmac) February 5, 2016

“Within this framework, the Catholic Church has historically been complicit and allies of those who invaded our land,” they added.

Various Purepechas communities from Michoacan demanded that the pope make a public statement apologizing for the church's role in the genocide and ongoing disappearance of the Indigenous people of Mexico.

The council also denounced that with weapons and the help of Catholic missionaries, a culture, language, religion and other European values were imposed on the people of Mexico.

"The Bible was the ideological weapon of the Conquerors,” they added ahead of the pope's visit to Mexico, which begins Feb. 12.

The Spanish intervention and invasion of the Americas represents one of the biggest acts of genocide in history, they said.

“The arrival of the Europeans meant the interruption and destruction of various original civilizations, which had their unique ideas and concepts of the world, our own government, writings, languages, education, religion and philosophy,” the statement added.

The “European invaders” caused the death of 95 percent of the the total Indigenous population within 130 years after the unfortunate arrival of Christopher Columbus and Hernan Cortes, the council noted.

They highlighted that before the Spaniards arrived to the Mexican region, there were about 25.2 million Indigenous people, and that after 1623, less than 700,000 were left.

The pope is scheduled to visit Morelia, the capital of Michoacan, Feb. 16.

Last year, First Nations people also demanded the pope apologize for the genocide committed by colonization. 

This content was originally published by teleSUR at the following address: 
 "http://www.telesurtv.net/english/news/Mexican-Indigenous-Ask-Pope-to-Apologize-for-Massive-Genocide-20160207-0033.html". If you intend to use it, please cite the source and provide a link to the original article. www.teleSURtv.net/english

Globally significant landmark agreement reached

Posted on

Globally significant landmark agreement reached

First Nations, environmental groups and coastal forest industry representatives joined the Province today to celebrate achieving ecosystem-based management in the Great Bear Rainforest.

The Great Bear Rainforest was established through land-use decisions announced in 2006. This globally unique area covers 6.4 million hectares on British Columbia’s north and central coast, and is home to 26 separate First Nations. Ecosystem-based management in the area is defined as “concurrent achievement of high levels of ecological integrity and high levels of human well-being.”

Under the new Great Bear Rainforest land-use order, ecological integrity is achieved through increasing the amount of protected old-growth forest to 70% from 50%. As well, eight new special forest management areas covering almost 295,000 hectares will be off-limits to logging. Six may receive additional protection based on ongoing discussions with First Nations. With the new measures, 85% of the forest will be protected and 15% will be available for logging, supporting local jobs.

The land-use order also addresses First Nations’ cultural heritage resources, freshwater ecosystems and wildlife habitat. The amount of habitat protected for the marbled murrelet, northern goshawk, grizzly bear, mountain goat and tailed frog will increase as new reserves required by the order are developed.

The Province has signed reconciliation protocols with the Coastal First Nations and Nanwakolas Council. Through these government-to-government relationships, separate human well-being agreements have been reached to address issues of special concern to each group of First Nations. Most notably, both have an increased stake in the forest sector. The commercial grizzly bear hunt will cease in Coastal First Nations’ traditional territories.

The Province has committed to amending atmospheric benefit-sharing agreements with Nanwakolas and Coastal First Nations. This will increase the forest carbon credits they can use to support implementation of ecosystem-based management and community development projects of importance to them.

Because of the uniqueness of the Great Bear Rainforest and the innovative elements in the new and amended agreements, the B.C. government intends to introduce supporting legislation in spring 2016.

https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2016PREM0011-000122

Six Nations Polytechnic now offers indigenous language degree

Posted on Updated on

Six Nations Polytechnic now offers indigenous language degree
Students to be able to get a degree in Ogwehoweh (Cayuga and Mohawk) languages, not just diploma
CBC News Posted: Feb 08, 2016 3:46 PM ET Last Updated: Feb 08, 2016 3:46 PM ET

Ontario’s Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities announced that Six Nations Polytechnic Aboriginal Institute will be able to grant a degree, not just a diploma, in Ogwehoweh languages.

Students will now be able to receive a Bachelor of Arts degree, not just a diploma, in Ogwehoweh languages from the Six Nations Polytechnic Aboriginal Institute in Ohsweken, the province announced today.

It’s the first time the province has allowed an Aboriginal Institute, which are run and governed completely by indigenous leaders, to offer a degree program.

The news lines up with a recommendation from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission — that post-secondary institutions create degree programs in indigenous languages.

Reza Moridi, the province’s Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities, says the change allows several things to happen:

Helps promote and protect Ogwehoweh (Cayuga and Mohawk) languages.
Makes it possible for students to complete their degree at one institution, closer to home.
Helps students build on language and cultural knowledge and skills.
Expands student opportunities for jobs.
“Language preservation and protection are at the core values of Six Nations Polytechnic,” said Rebecca Jamieson, the school’s president, in a press release.

The current diploma program has been offered in partnership with McMaster University.

In the below photo, Six Nations Polytechnic president Rebecca Jamieson is holding a small replica of a drum. Ministers Reza Moridi and David Zimmer are holding a replica of the Covenant Chain wampum belt given by the school to “commemorate the friendships created,” according to Chelsey Johnson, communications director for the school.

Rick Hill, in the middle, is a senior coordinator at the Deyohaha:ge Indigenous Knowledge Centre, and he was holding a replica of the Two Row wampum belt.

Melanie Mark, NDP MLA, Is 1st First Nations Woman Elected To B.C. Legislature

Posted on

 |  By
Posted: 02/03/2016 8:55 am EST Updated: 02/03/2016 9:59 am EST
MELANIE MARK

Melanie Mark grew up in one of Canada’s poorest neighbourhoods, bouncing around the social housing system while her mother struggled with addiction and her siblings lived in foster care.

Decades later, she’s about to become the first indigenous woman to be elected to B.C.’s legislature in the province’s history.

Mark, a New Democrat, snagged a seat in her party’s stronghold of Vancouver-Mount Pleasant in a byelection Monday. She handily defeated Liberal Gavin Dew and Green candidate Pete Fry with over 60 per cent of the vote.

The mother of two will be replacing Jenny Kwan, who moved into federal politics as NDP MP for Vancouver-East last October.

melanie mark
Mark at a campaign launch event in April 2015. (Photo: Facebook)

Mark was a frontrunner throughout the campaign, which was an experience that provided a stark contrast from a childhood marked with hardship.

Now 40, the politician grew up in social housing in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside — an impoverished neighbourhood known for high levels of homelessness, addiction, and mental illness.

Mark’s mother — now 10 years sober — was an alcoholic. Her father was also an addict and died from an overdose when she was in her 20s, the MLA wrote in a letter published by the Georgia Straight last week.

Mark, who is of Cree, Nisga’a, Gitxsan, and Ojibway descent, also had several siblings living in foster care. The future politician said she was left to support them for 16 years, working with “relentless passion” while her mother struggled with addiction.

melanie mark
Mark at a campaign event before winning the byelection in her riding of Vancouver-Mount Pleasant on Feb. 2, 2016. (Photo: Melanie Mark’s Campaign/Flickr)

Mark was shuffled into “over 30” different homes growing up in the neighbourhood, she told the Straight.

But her takeaway from it all, according to her website, wasn’t frailty.

It was “warrior strength.”

Youth advocacy and provincial politics

Mark, who studied political science at B.C.’s Simon Fraser University, spent years advocating for children and youth in the province and across Canada. She worked with organizations such as Covenant House Vancouver, Save the Children, the RCMP, and co-founded Vancouver’s Aboriginal Policing Community Centre.

She also volunteered as president of the city’s Urban Native Youth Association, which helps indigenous youth settle into city life.

Before her foray into politics, Mark worked with B.C. children’s watchdog Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond for nearly a decade.

The politician announced her bid for B.C. legislature in April.

“There was no chance in hell I was going to stand on the sidelines.”

Throughout her campaign, Mark focused on youth advocacy, affordable housing, poverty reduction, and education.

“I’ve never worked so hard to get a job,” the candidate told the Vancouver Courier last year.

Mark’s First Nations heritage was also at the forefront — a part of her identity that shows how far the MLA-elect has come.

“My early days weren’t easy. There was a lot of struggle, and there certainly wasn’t a lot of pride. I faced so much racism in school, and bullies, and really had to fight — whether that [was against] the experiences that my family confronted [or] how my brothers were treated in care,” Mark said at a campaign event on Sunday.

“There was no chance in hell I was going to stand on the sidelines.”